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Venice’s Carnival: A Sea of Secrets

A sinking city of sea and secrets, Venice is known for its inescapable romance, beauty and mystery. Visitors can find all three at the city’s infamous Carnival celebration. Now an annual, three-week celebration, the first Carnival of Venice supposedly started in 1162 to celebrate a military victory of La Repubblica della Serenissima, as Venice was originally called. Known as carnevale in Italian,… Read more »

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Why You Should See a Temporary Art Exhibition in Milan

There are some tourist sites that are so obvious, you barely need to research them.  Obviously you’ll be visiting the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia’s David in Florence. Obviously the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum in Rome are important, St. Mark’s in Venice and the Archeological Museum in Naples. It doesn’t seem to be so obvious in Milan. Milan is… Read more »

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Santo Stefano and the Italian Christmas Holidays

Italian national holidays are, for the most part, Catholic holidays. This means that Italians not only get a day off work for things like Labor Day and Republic Day (think, 4th of July for Italians) but also for Ferragosto (Mary’s Assumption into heaven) All Saint’s Day, the Immaculate Conception, Christmas and Santo Stefano, celebrated the day… Read more »

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How to Speak English While Abroad

So you’re a native English speaker, huh? Somehow, from no effort of your own, you were born speaking fluently the world’s predominant language. The linga franca, if you will. Lucky you! You can now read, write, use the Internet, travel and work with ease. You respond to any speaker in English, confident that they’ll understand you… Read more »

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Visiting the Gates of Heaven in Siena

Third times the charm. At least it was for me, on my third visit to Siena this past September. The first time I went I was studying abroad in Florence. We went by train with no preparation, climbed the Torre del Mangia, Italy’s second tallest tower, and otherwise just ambled around aimlessly with no idea of… Read more »

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Mediocre in Italy, and Happy About It

Apparently, Italians have embraced mediocrity to the fullest.  It sounds offensive, but I’d argue that if it’s true, they’re living better because of it.  I’ve always thought Italians attitude toward work and life has to do with two things: 1) war and 2) time. Italy has a long and bloody history of constantly changing rulers. After so many… Read more »

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Italy’s #FertilityDay Failure

In America they’re happy we’re finally using birth control in a sort of “yay, poor people aren’t having kids anymore!” celebration. In Italy, they’ve launched a campaign encouraging Italians to get pregnant. Meanwhile, in the US#fertilityday https://t.co/fHgmivCqJu — Angelo Ghigi (@aghigi) August 31, 2016 They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything… Read more »

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Italian Palaces and Gardens Better Than Versailles

Marco and I just got back from a lovely 8-day vacation in Paris. Of course with that amount of time we couldn’t skip the Château de Versailles, the opulent royal palace for generations of opulent French kings. We had heard it was the top of the top in Europe. The palace to end all palaces. Opulence and… Read more »

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Lessons Learned From My Italian Nonna

When I first met nonna she sat poised on an antique chair surrounded by her beautiful and very carefully curated antique furniture. Big and little paintings hung on the wall, each from a different century, each with a different story. The light was dim but just right on the deep green walls. “Sage,” she told me…. Read more »

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La Risiera di San Sabba, Italy’s Concentration Camp No One Knows About

When we finally arrived to Trieste we zipped right by the sea-facing Piazza dell’Unità di Italia, the round globed lamp posts, the Austrian architecture and the steep roads of Trieste’s town center. We followed the sea, looking as the charming buildings were slowly replaced with squat post-industrial apartments. They rose up one after the other… Read more »